Fun with Flat Earth Fundies, Part 2

 Continuing my look at Phil Stallings and his flat Earth fantasies, he makes much of how certain end times theories try to evade a simple flat-planet solution:

The tree in the book of Daniel that grows so high that it could be seen from the "ends of the earth" compounds the problem as if this allegory can even be imagined on a spinning ball! Also, these same scholars end up chasing their hermeneutical tails when they see the text which says that "every eye will see Him" and insert modern day technology, such as cell phones or televisions as the basis by which this would occur. They do this because they know such interpretations must follow their heliocentric view which does not allow every eye to see Christ who returns to one side of a spinning ball.

I agree. The simple solution is that in Daniel, it is not planetary earth in view at all, but a select and smaller piece of real estate. I also agree we don’t need modern technology. A preterist eschatology which understands Christ to be referring to the destruction of Jerusalem, and thereby his prophetic vindication, handles that problem nicely. But returning to my text, Stallings throws a hissy fit because I allow external evidence to “stand in judgment” of Biblical texts. I point out that the word “earth” never refers to planetary Earth anywhere in the Bible, with one narrow and highly qualified exception that can no longer apply, and expired shortly after Day 1 of creation:

Although several passages reveal this point, the most telling is Genesis 1:10, “God called the dry land earth, and the gathering of the waters He called seas; and God saw that it was good” (NASB).7 It is clear that the seas are not considered to be part of the ’erets. Rather, ’erets is associated with that which is “dry.” Thus, in no case can ’erets mean planetary Earth."

Stallings ignores my explanation and then proceeds to insist that the word used means the whole earth, for others, what is being referenced? I explained quite clearly what it referenced (dry land, before the waters were created), but apparently it was too obvious for Stallings to see while he was having his fundamentalist fit.

I said:

"Another telling passage is Psalm 72:8 (KJV): 'He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth.' This confirms that ’erets refers only to dry land, for it categorizes 'seas' differently from the land, rather than regarding “earth” as encompassing the entire biosphere."

Stallings replies:

This confirms that words in Hebrew can be used in combination with others to convey particular meanings. Again, the Strong's definition allows for "erets" to refer to the whole earth (opposed to a part) such as in Genesis 18:18,25; Genesis 22:18 (= הָאֲדָמָה Genesis 12:3) Jeremiah 25:26,29,30; Jeremiah 26:6; Isaiah 37:16,20 = 2 Kings 19:15; 2 Kings 19:19; Zechariah 4:10; Zechariah 4:14.

This is rather hilarious, because Stallings threw a fit because I allowed external evidence to “stand in judgment” on the text. Here, though, he allows Strong’s concordance to judge the text for him. Presumably James Strong earned the mantle of prophet while none of us were paying attention. In any event, I can’t find much in the way of coherence or answer here, for Stallings seems to be admitting the key word is not used for planetary Earth in these cases, but he’s begging for an exception in this case. His sole actual argument for an exception in this case is, well, pretty stupid:

When Genesis 18:25 says "will not the judge of all the earth do right," is that supposed to mean that those that were in the sea will escape the judge? Obviously not.

Who does Stallings mean here who mighr escape the judge? Mermaids? Or is God the judge of seahorses and shellfish? What sin did that bass commit to require judgment? The obvious stupidity here by Stallings is that there is no one  and no thing “in the sea” to judge. Even if you happen to jump in as God is dropping the hammer, all that will happen is that you’ll get wet for your troubles before you get yanked out by the ears and put on dry land again. The native territory of men is land, period. No, God isn’t judge of the sea any more than he is the Creator of plants on Neptune.

I further said:

"Finally, notice the divisions laid out in Genesis 1:28 (KJV): 'And have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.' The division of sea from land shows that 'earth' does not mean planetary Earth, because by definition, that would include the seas."

Stallings responded with a skein of blather, but about dominion, but this is not the point. I am referring here to geographical delineation. Not dominion authority. Genesis clearly regarded sea and earth two different geographical entities. This would not be possible if “earth” meant planetary Earth, because the concept of planetary Earth includes the seas. The only exception would be if, as earlier in the account, there were no seas. Stallings has no answer to this, though he appears to be trying to beg the question:

Even when descriptors are used such as "dry" it would not take away that meaning since it goes on to describe animals which exist in the air and water so as to not be confusing and rather expounding upon the meaning "erets" and the reference to the scope of man's dominion on the earth.

It’s not confusing at all, except perhaps to persons with an agenda who have limited mental gifts, like Stallings. His appeal to animals of air is no help either; the concept of planetary Earth might also arguably be inclusive of the lowest part of the atmosphere, and at least that part which is within the range of mountainous heights. Or if not, it’s a neutral point; keep in mind that there is “earth” under the seas, which has no parallel for air. This would shows at best is that “earth” in the Bible isn’t planetary. At worst, the added factor of air is a neutral point. Flat earth readings would still end up as ribald nonsense.

If your head is not spinning yet, wait until next time.


Popular posts from this blog

Where did Jesus say "It is better to give than receive?"

How Many Children in Bethlehem Did Herod Kill?

Martin Luther King, Jr., Jesus, Jonah and U2’s Pride in the Name of Love

Dr. John Lennox: Video - Christmas for Doubters

How Should I Be A Sceptic -- belief and reason

Bayes Theorem And Probability of God: No Dice!

Kierkegaard's Knights of Faith and the Account of Abraham

The Meaning of the Manger

William Lane Craig on "If Mind is Reducible to Brain Function, Why Trust Thought?"